Strata Spark Tsunami – Hadoop World, Part One

New York’s Javits Center is a cavernous triumph of form over function. Giant empty spaces were everywhere at this year’s empty-though-sold-out Strata/Hadoop World, but the strangely-numbered, hard to find, typically inadequately-sized rooms were packed. Some redesign will be needed next year, because the event was huge in impact and demand will only grow. A few of those big tent pavilions you see at Oracle Open World or Dreamforce would drop into the giant halls without a trace – I’d expect to see some next year to make some usable space available.

So much happened, I’ll post a couple of pieces here. Last year’s news was all about promises: Hadoop 2.0 brought the promise of YARN enabling new kinds of processing, and there was promise in the multiple emerging SQL-on-HDFS plays. The Hadoop community was clearly ready to crown a new hype king for 2014.

This year, all that noise had jumped the Spark.

– This post is continued on my Gartner blog –

Hadoop Investments Continue: Teradata, HP Jockey For Position

Interest from the leading players continues to drive investment in the Hadoop marketplace. This week Teradata made two acquisitions – Revelytix and Hadapt – that enrich its already sophisticated big data portfolio, while HP made a $50M investment in, and joined the board of, Hortonworks. These moves continue the ongoing effort by leading players. 4 of the top 5 DBMS players (Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Teradata) and 3 of the top 7 IT companies (Samsung, Apple, Foxconn, HP, IBM, Hitachi, Microsoft) have now made direct moves into the Hadoop space. Oracle’s recent Big Data Appliance and Big Data SQL, and Microsoft’s HDInsight represent substantial moves to target Hadoop opportunities, and these Teradata and HP moves mean they don’t want to be left behind.

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Apache Hadoop 1.0 Doesn’t Clear Up Trunks and Branches Questions. Do Distributions?

In early January 2012, the world of big data was treated to an interesting series of product releases, press announcements, and blog posts about Hadoop versions.  To begin with, we had the announcement of Apache version 1.0 at long last, in a press release. Although there were grumblings here and there in the twittersphere that changes to release numbers are meaningless, my discussions with Gartner’s enterprise customers indicate otherwise. Products with release numbers like 0.20.2 make the hair on Procurement’s neck stand on end, and as Hadoop begins to get mainstream attention (Gartner’s clients, see Hype Cycle for Data Management 2011), IT architects and executives find such optics quite important. Hadoop is moving beyond pioneers like Amazon, Yahoo! and LinkedIn into shops like JP Morgan Chase, and they pay attention to such things.

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IBM’s IOD Showcases DB2, Informix, InfoSphere. Now, About Marketing….

It was hard to decide where to look first in Las Vegas this year at IBM’s flagship information management event. Coming as it did on the heels of a massive, sprawling Oracle Open World, it was also overwhelming, but distinguished itself immediately by its focus. Whereas Oracle has smashed together hardware systems, apps, middleware, java and development, systems management and database into a bewildering multi-site show, IBM continues to run separate events for Websphere, Rational, Tivoli, and Lotus. No single IBM event trumpets “we’re the biggest,” and they don’t take over the towns they’re in; the content seems a bit more manageable. And as an attendee who hopes to get a broad view, I’m happy with that. However, as I’ll discuss below, Oracle is winning the messaging war nonetheless.

There was indeed talk of systems at IoD this year, as Smart Analytics Systems got a refresh and some added units on x-based platforms. Flash memory additions to the x-based 5600, bundling InfoSphere and Cognos along with an updated Linux release, provide the basis for a good story along with more cores, memory and storage. A similar story is possible for the POWER-based 7700, which also added the new Blue Darter solid state disk (SSD.) And the z audience gets the 9600, with its sidecar, the transparent offload to the Smart Analytics Optimizer. Yes, IBM has a column-based database, with innovative storage tweaks and an optimizer that knows when to use it and when not to. Great promise there.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Try this: ask 10 IT people what Exadata is, and what Smart Analytics Systems are. Ask them who makes the offerings, and what they do. Go ahead…I’ll wait….

Back? OK. Here’s what I learned, after doing that experiment at 3 events attended by IT people (data people, in fact.) 8 of 10 I asked knew Oracle makes Exadata and it’s a wicked fast platform for data. 4 of 10 knew who makes the other one, and fewer knew why. On visibility and buzz, game Oracle.

There is much more to talk about, and visibility and buzz are not everything. IBM’s numbers continue to be good, and nobody in Armonk is complaining. But the IBM Software brand needs to get more attention, more investment, and a tighter, more focused story. The good news? Conversations I’ve been having suggest that it will in 2011, and it’s about time. Read more of this post

Calpont’s InfiniDB – Another ADBMS Insurgent Arises

Calpont, rapidly emerging as yet another contender in the ADBMS sweepstakes, has announced version 2.0 of InfiniDB, its columnar MPP offering over shared storage. The value proposition hits now-familiar themes: high-performance query, fast data loading, data compression, and parallelized user defined functions (UDFs), all of which are becoming key checkoff capabilities. InfiniDB also hits hard on pricing, which it says dramatically undercuts that of its competitors. And a 30-day free trial of the enterprise edition sweetens the offer. For those comfortable with open source, the 2.0 release of the  community edition is available as well. Calpont says the community edition (which is limited to a single server but is otherwise database feature-complete) has had 15,000 downloads. But the company’s relationship with Oracle for its MySQL components must be considered a risk going forward.

InfiniDB, like Infobright, is built atop Oracle’s MySQL. (I posted about Infobright last year, and it also has made significant progress, drawing favorable comment in the open source community for its continuing maturation.)  Calpont’s relationship with Oracle must be seen as a risk factor..Oracle’s recent decisions about support raise questions about its interest in supporting anyone who is not an enterprise-class user of the Oracle-branded MySQL offering. Calpont has a deal through 2012 that includes an OEM license to integrate and use MySQL as the InfiniDB branded solution, and access to the MySQL channel. What will happen beyond that is clearly a concern. Read more of this post

Aster Data Adds Columnar Storage, Puts Stake in Ground for Hybrid Multistores

Aster Data has announced its new version, nCluster 4.6, which now includes a column data store, staking a claim as the first ADBMS to combine SQL and MapReduce on a hybrid row and column MPP system. While its R&D has hitherto been focused on enabling advanced in-database analytic processing in its flagship “Data-Analytics Server, ” Aster has clearly had other irons in the fire. CTO Tasso Argyros tells me that the new column store is entirely new, written from scratch to ensure that Aster’s SQL-MR is a universal programming layer atop storage, and that its 1000+ MapReduce-ready analytic functions (and UDFs) will run on both row- and column-based data. Read more of this post

Partial Plans Perplex Press at SAP – Sybase Event, But Promise is Everywhere

SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe and Sybase CEO John Chen keynoted a two-continent event on August 19 to demonstrate their solidarity and provide an early look at strategic plans. Many analysts greeted the initial announcement with positive reviews – mine is here, and Noel Yuhanna of Forrester weighed in here. Progress since the $5.8 billion transaction formally closed (just a few weeks ago) has been modest, but certainly better than the message, which was not yet crisp. The press release (several pages in length) was long on marketing phrases and short on specifics, and those in attendance generally found the content scattered and difficult to parse. Highlights emerged, however, in the subsequent discussions as press, analysts and bloggers dug in for details:

  • A mobile application software development kit (SDK) will combine the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) with SAP NetWeaver Mobile and Business Objects Mobile software within 9 months.
  • Sybase CEO John Chen, on the SAP board, will operate Sybase as a “separate, independent unit,” and reaffirmed the commitment to maintaining the product roadmap he made when I interviewed him at TechWave
  • SAP will “port, certify and optimize” SAP Business Suite, NetWeaver Business Warehouse, Business Objects Data Services and Business Objects BI solutions to Sybase ASE. No dates were specified.
  • Business Objects, already certified for Sybase ASE and IQ, will be “combined with (unspecified) Sybase data management servers” to deliver “discovery, storage, and consumption.” No dates were specified; it’s not clear what’s new here other than packaging.
  • The companies will incorporate SAP’s in-memory computing technology across SAP and Sybase data management offerings.

Read more of this post

More TDWI Notes – ParAccel Rolling On, HP Stalled, Vertica Leading Insurgents

On my second day at TDWI, I was in meetings all day – events like this are a great opportunity for analysts to catch up with many of the companies they follow at one time, and this particular one was packed with sponsors. Congrats to the folks who sell sponsorships – they had a packed exhibit hall, and a lot of very interested attendees. I got a chance to chat at a few booths (all buzzing), ask a few attendees some real-world questions (and was asked some surprising ones myself), and get a sense of the workload in the trenches (heavy and growing.)

Read more of this post

Sybase SQL Anywhere 12 Extends Mobile Leadership

In my coverage of SAP’s Sybase acquisition, I noted that SQL Anywhere is a best kept secret among more than 20,000 developers who relish its ease of embedding and minimal database administration. Now Sybase is about to release its next version, SQL Anywhere 12, with ambitions to add to its claimed ten million users worldwide using SQL Anywhere-powered applications. Geospatial features, key to mobile applications, will feature prominently. Read more of this post

SAND Technology Starts 2010 Well After Flat 2009

ADBMS vendor SAND Technology’s report on its 2009 fiscal year seemed to offer little reason to change my earlier skeptical position on the firm. Its 2009 revenue was essentially flat at $7 million (Canadian dollars throughout). Cost of sales, R&D, and SG&A – and the firm’s net loss – were also nearly unchanged. And yet, there are changes going on, and they are positive signs, especially for a year in which the IT market will rebound. Net income for SAND’s fiscal 2010 first quarter was $553,253 on revenues of $2,485,464 – a substantial turnaround from a net loss of $989,850 on revenues of $1,223,928 for fiscal Q1 2009. One quarter is not a trend, but it is a good sign. Read more of this post

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